How to Stay Happy at Work

How do you keep your spirits up and foster a sense of joy on the job? Readers share their tricks -- add yours below.

Tea Break
I recently bought my mom a glass teapot with an infuser, and she now shares that gift with her coworkers as a way to take a little pause in their workday. At 2 every afternoon, my mom brews a new variety of tea and shares some downtime with the other women on her floor. It's a great healthy break from a stressful day, and it lets them really connect with one another. It makes me wish I worked there so I could join in.
-- Mary Stowell, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Riverside Walk
To defuse stress, I take a daily walk, usually with a friend (we keep each other accountable). I work by the river, and there's a nice two-mile loop down a wooded path. Give me 40 to 45 minutes out there and I come back to my desk feeling refreshed, grounded, and full of energy. I attribute this not only to the fresh air, but also to getting out into nature, which has an incredible way of resetting my mental state and recharging my senses.
-- Lynn Tyne, Waltham, Massachusetts

Desk-side Doggie
My office allows dogs, so I get to bring my wiggly pug, Mathilde, to work. It brings joy to just about everyone. Her soft snore relaxes me when I'm stressed, and she loves the attention my colleagues lavish on her. Working late is easier knowing I don't have to rush home to feed her -- and having her in the office forces me to go out for exercise at lunch. I love hearing other dogs' tags jingle as they follow their humans around the office. Our pets encourage a level of friendliness rarely seen at work.
-- Marie McArthur, Miami

Grand Entrance
I have a morning routine that I'm religious about. Before leaving the house for my 35-minute walk to work, I pick my "entrance song" for the day -- like the song that would accompany a bridal party at a wedding reception. I cue it up on my iPod and play it as I'm riding up the elevator to my office. It always starts my day with a smile.
-- Megan Flannery, New York City

Chocolate Fix
I keep a collage or some other piece of artwork at my desk -- for variety, I always change it. Sweet treats are also a nice boost, so I make sure to have essentials like dark chocolate on hand. When I need a lift, I have a few no-fail solutions: a wind-up bumblebee toy and (as a last resort) blowing bubbles. But above all, I'm happy in my work because I choose to be.
-- Katie Quinn, Troy, Michigan

Spice of Life
Through my job as a tennis instructor, I'm able to stay active, set my own schedule, and teach and learn at the same time. But I still need a few tools to keep my energy and enthusiasm up all day. My No. 1 strategy is variety. When I book a five-hour block of lessons, I always make sure there's a mix: private sessions along with groups, both beginner and advanced players, students of many ages, easy lessons and more difficult ones. This variety keeps the day challenging -- and fun.
-- Jessica Cahill, Newton, Massachusetts

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